Having just been at the UGC (Union de Grand Crus) Bordeaux 2009 tasting I thought I would quickly jot down my thoughts on the Sauternes. There were so many people crammed in around the “big” name reds that I only tasted a few of them that I have a little stock of before realising that it would be a great chance to taste a range Sauternes from one vintage and get a feel for house styles etc. 2009 is not by common agreement a stellar year (like say 2001 or 2007) for Sauternes but it is a good year and a rich one with lots of Botrytis. A few recent bottles of aged (and very high quality) Sauternes have really re-enforced my feeling that these are brilliant wines and in relative terms good value. I have scored them out of 20 to focus my mind.
Bastor Lamontagne – A rich nose but with a good floral edge too, honey and cream the prevalent notes. Fresh and not over the top, I would imagine a high proportion of Sauvignon. Impressive. (17.5)
Climens – Very high levels of Botrytis here, a combination of Crème Brulee and Orange rind on the nose a rich palate two with oak showing bt in a good way, rich and intense style. Opposite style to the Bastor and goes to show why Climens is so highly regarded.(18)
Coutet – Floral on the nose with a note or caramel too, a little simplistic as a whole but still good. (16.5)
de Fargues – Shortbread and honey on the nose, rich and fuller (up there with the Climens on that front) as I always de Fargues to be.a dash of orange rind again as well.(17.75)
Rayne Vigneau – Awful gold label (not that that matters of course). Nose a little subdues but then an uplifting palate with a dash of pineapple.(16)
Doisy Daene – A really sulphurous bottle that made it hard to assess so I will wait for another time, texture seemed good but unfair to score it.(?)
Doisy Vedrines – Very balanced nose with both honey and fruit (tropical and orchard), rich with good acidity there too, impressive, one of the stars.(18)
Guiraud – A serious and slightly closed nose with lots of Botrytis on the plate more than the nose. Very good although somehow I expected more.(17)
La Tour Blanche – Lovely delicately fruited nose, nothing like as bold as Climens or de Fargues, good texture. (16.75)
Nairac – Vanilla and Creme Brulee nose, very full-on, a more oxidative, rancio style, very full and quite old school, hits the ground running, not to be aged in the longer term I’d have thought (but may well be wrong).(16)
Sigalas Ribaud – Good relatively straight-forward nose, good depth, a little simple at this stage, would love to re-taste.(16)
Suduiraut – Very full-on rich creamy nose, lots of Botrytis vanilla notes along with hint of orange rind, sample was a little warmer than it might have been, good wine.(17)
As a range they were impressive and the high Botrytis probably masks the fact that there is also decent underlying acidity. As it is a vintage that will probably move very little in price over the years I look forward to trying them again.